Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wait, I wasn't already on vacation?

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm actually in school right now. Like, I spend about 20 hours a week in a classroom learning French and European culture stuff and do a little bit of homework too. But, this week and next I am on vacation. I'm taking the opportunity to do a little bit of traveling around Europe, so I'll be off the bike for about 10 days but that's the price you pay to see the world. I'm jetting off to London tomorrow and from there it'll be Amsterdam and then Berlin. Quality Eurotrippin'.

My vacation started on Friday though and I've been taking this first part of it to cram in the miles before I go. That's a valid form of training, right? I did a nice long team ride and some beautiful spins on my own as well. The team ride was mostly without incident, until some dude crashed on one of the corners in a little village and snapped his rear derailleur off. Ouch! The bike was fine though, that's why they make the hangers out of aluminum. Easily replaced and then your good as new. Oh, the rider was okay as well.

Man down! Also, is it fucked up that after this happened the first thing I thought was, "I should get a picture for the blog?"

The best part of my week was probably this killer long ride I went on on Monday though. I headed East into Germany in search of the little range of hills there that offered about as much elevation gain as I could find in the area. My regular readers will probably know what I'm going to say next. I got hella lost. You can see that ride on Strava and it looks pretty silly, it's basically a big loop with little spines coming off all over of roads I started to take but than realized they weren't going where I wanted. Navigating is a bitch man, I need one of those fancy ass bike computers that tells me where to go. "Uphill!" it would say and point me towards the sky.

Das Rhine

Honestly, it probably wouldn't help though. The "bike paths" here are usually pretty poorly marked and I doubt they would even be on the digital maps. A lot of times they will be just dirt or gravel. In fact, I'm pretty sure I figured out how the sport of cyclocross was invented, but here they just call it winter training. It's partially due to my sense of direction often leading me towards the edges of cliffs, but I usually find myself riding onto unfinished roads, through construction sites (seriously, half this damn country is under construction), or on trails through the woods. I've just given up trying to avoid it and write it off as some quality bike handling practice, but man am I gonna need a new chain when I get back stateside.

Das Flatland

Anyway, yeah German excursion. I eventually found some real pretty vinyard hills. None of them were more than 1,000 feet, so I don't want to call them mountains, but it was really nice to get a chance to do some climbing. I live next to the Rhine and pretty much everything around here is flatland. It was a beautiful day too, which made the five hour ride a breeze. It was really the sort of thing I'd been praying for these past couple weeks of consistant shitty weather. Midway through I even stopped and grabbed a slice of pie and a coffee from a little bakery in the country. Sun, hills, and pie? Now that's my kinda vacation.

Das Fuel

Cheers folks, I'll see you after the break. And remember: Live to ride. Ride to live.
Kyle McCall

Bonus !  Want to see some more pics? Check out this album.
Probably be posting some more there during my travels, so check back often.

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